The Italian started from his lowest grid position of the season but produced a dramatic ride to end the race in third place, lapping quicker than eventual winner Marco Melandri (Honda). A crowd of 124,520 watched Rossi make up seven positions with an incredible surge on the first lap, although the early pace of Melandri and Nicky Hayden (Honda) provided them with an advantage that proved impossible to breach in the second half of the race. Rossi’s Yamaha Factory team-mate Colin Edwards suffered a disappointing end to his first season with the team, losing three positions on the first lap after starting from sixth and only managing to recover one place by the end of the race. Nevertheless, the American has made significant progress with a new riding style over the course of the weekend and he is now looking forward to winter testing as he prepares for his second season as a Yamaha rider. In the meantime, Yamaha is left to reflect on a stunning Anniversary season, in which it has swept the board, taking the riders’, teams’ and constructors’ World Championship titles.
VALENTINO ROSSI (3rd - +2.959)
“The second part of the race was very positive because my pace was fast and I rode well but if you want to win a race then you can’t start from fifteenth on the grid. I made a mistake yesterday with the crash but the truth is that we were struggling all weekend with the setting and we didn’t understand until this morning what the problem was. We worked it out and in the race I was able to ride how I wanted to, but it was too late. It was good fun, I pushed hard but it wasn’t enough. In the future we have to make sure we work better in practice. It’s been a fantastic season and everyone has worked hard to achieve all our targets. Now we look forward to some holidays and some hard work during winter testing!”
COLIN EDWARDS (8th - +25.678)
“I didn’t rider great today. In the middle of the race I started to push hard and caught up again with the middle of the pack, but by that time I had abused my tyres a lot, they were moving around and so I decided to hold station. I have never been at the last race of a season counting down the days for winter testing to start. We have a lot of work to do and I want to get going as soon as possible. It’s been an average season but we’ve learnt a lot for next year and the whole team has worked very hard for me. I want to thank them and thank Michelin and I’m looking forward to working with everyone over the winter and coming out strong next year.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM DIRECTOR
“Basically we lost the race in practice, both with the setting difficulties we had and Valentino’s starting position for the race. It is always going to be difficult from the fifth row, but he was 4.9 seconds down on the leader after four laps and by the end it was 2.9 so his pace was even better than the race winner. It’s been a long season from January, when testing started, to November. We have won everything available, scored eleven race victories and right now I would accept the same statistics next season – only with Colin higher in the championship. That is our aim for next year but for now I just want to say thank you to all our staff, engineers, crew and both of our riders. It has been a fantastic season.”